Game of Credit

Resource Overview

The Game of Credit: A High Stakes Game that Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap

Credit building is a crucial part of wealth-building in today’s financial reality. Reaching and maintaining financial stability is increasingly dependent on your credit score. IABG, in collaboration with the Social IMPACT Research Center, has looked at credit score disparities in Illinois in our report The Game of Credit: A High Stakes Game that Perpetuates the Racial Wealth Gap. Informed by feedback from community members and credit building experts across the state of Illinois, this report explores the structural barriers that limit access for communities of color to build their credit and their financial security. Program and policy solutions to reduce the credit score disparities and the racial wealth gap are highlighted throughout.

A companion technical report from the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance and the Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), Trapped by Credit: Racial Disparities in Financial Well-Being and Opportunity in Illinois, finds a stark difference – well over 100 points in some cases – in credit scores and related access to opportunity in predominantly white versus predominantly minority communities in Illinois.

The report examines a shocking aspect of the racial wealth gap— disparity in credit scores. In communities of color across the state, the new data shows residents are trapped in a cycle of poor credit with limited access to the opportunities and resources needed to become financially secure.

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